Over 200 children allegedly died in 'Socorro cult' village

Over 200 children allegedly died in ‘Socorro cult’ village — Hontiveros

By: - Reporter / @zacariansINQ
/ 11:37 AM November 07, 2023

Over 200 children allegedly died in 'Socorro cult' village — Hontiveros

Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc. leader Jey Rence “Senior Agila” Quilario and Senator Risa Hontiveros (PHOTO FROM NIÑO JESUS ORBETA/INQUIRER and Voltaire F. Domingo/Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — Over 200 children have allegedly died at Sitio Kapihan in Surigao del Norte, the enclave where the alleged cult Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc. (SBSI) is situated, said Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday.


Hontiveros made the pronouncement during a Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs hearing on SBSI, where she claimed informants had told her staff that at least 200 children died in the enclave.


“In fact, if our informants are to be believed, higit 200 ang namamatay na mga bata from the ages of newborn to 4 years old (more than 200 children died from the ages of newborn to 4 years old),” said Hontiveros.

“If this is true, why [are there] so many dead babies? Why are we allowing children to die?” she added.

READ: NBI told to investigate child deaths in ‘Socorro cult’ village

READ: ‘Worse than expected’: Senate inspection of Sitio Kapihan reveals irregularities

During the hearing, one of the deceased children’s fathers, a certain Randolf Balbarino, narrated how his baby died within the enclave in 2020.

Balbarino explained that his wife gave birth on Dec. 14, 2020, in a “function hall” in SBSI, which also served as its delivery area and hospital.

The delivery was a breech birth or a position wherein the baby’s feet come out first instead of the head.


Instead of being sent to the nearest hospital for professional help, Balbarino said the pair were barred from leaving the enclave, forcing his wife to deliver the baby with the assistance of unregistered midwives.

“Noong lumabas na ‘yung paa, sapilitang hinila ‘yung mga paa. Para mailabas at maligtas ‘yung nanay,” said Balbarino.

(When the foot came out, the feet were forcibly pulled to get the baby out and save the mother.)

“…noong kinarga ko na ‘yung bata, nakita ko na maputla ‘yung buong katawan ng bata at may mga bula din na lumabas sa bibig ng bata,” he added.

(…when I picked up the child, I saw that the child’s whole body was pale, and bubbles were coming from the child’s mouth.)

Balbarino said he wanted to bring the baby [to the hospital] as soon as possible to seek professional help, but the midwives blocked him and said that SBSI leader Jey Rence “Senior Agila” Quilario barred them from leaving the area.

“‘Yung mga kamadrona na sinabihan ko na ilabas ang anak ko dahil agaw buhay na siya, sabi ng kamadrona pinagbabawal ni Senior Agila, wala tayo magawa,” said Balbarino.

(I told the midwives to take my child to a hospital because he was already dying, but they said Senior Agila forbade us to do anything.)

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The child managed to survive for two days before ultimately dying.

Despite first-hand testimony from the father, Agila, in the same hearing, denied not allowing the father and his child to leave the enclave.

TAGS: Jey Rence Quilario, Risa Hontiveros, Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc.

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